Road Trip Part Two – 12 days in a camper van

RV trip

After our week in San Francisco we went to pick up a camper van (RV). There are various reasons behind it – being able to get away from the coast is one, trying something new is another and going on a little extra adventure that the kids will love was a BIG one.

Weeks before we even left they hardly talked about something else. They were drawing camper vans, asked if ours would be the same every time we spotted one on the streets and Romy was super excited that her birthday would fall into the 12 days we had the rolling house.
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The last time I went camping is a very long time ago and booking campgrounds was more or less the most time consuming part of the trip. Reading tons of reviews (which are helpful but always need to be read with a little wink), Google maps&street views etc… we are easy and well traveled but never did a trip with a big RV. Had to find out what all the pull throughs, hook ups etc meant and did not want to spend long hours driving either.

First night: Bethel Island

Was only about 1h drive from the pick up. Easy start to get the groove. We were lucky and had a very nice team that welcomed us, helped me to park (backwards) and shared some tricks with us. We made it!

After that we went to Jackson. 2 1/2h driving. Big stop for groceries and lunch. We had a very luxury campsite with a super laundry room (which we used instantly) and big pool. It was hot and comfortable but not really what camping is for me: I want to be in the woods! See the trees, hear the birds….

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After 2 nights we were on the road again. Direction Lake Tahoe. Grocery and lunch stop again… which can be quite interesting because you need like 3 parking lots for the vehicle and lots of space to actually get in… aaaaaaahhhh…

This was our longest and steepest drive. And also the most scenic one. Unfortunately I had to concentrate on driving (in the mountains) but everything I saw was just awesome. And Lake Tahoe is amazing. Truly unforgettable. So beautiful! And we had a great campsite. In the woods, with birds and bears… yes bears… we had to put our food and cosmetics in bear proof cabinets outside the trailer. Adventure – just what we wanted!

It got really fresh over night here so first thing when we woke up: coffee and tea!




After 2 nights (we wanted to stay 3 but it was fully booked) we started our trip to the vineyards. We arrived in Vacaville and stayed for 3 nights. And wow, it was hot! Luckily there was a pool and ice cream close by…

From here we only had to drive 45 min til Napa where we spent more or less the day. Big and very yummy lunch. Cruising around a little. Shopping, first ever visit to Target (which I found a little bla… I expected much more since I always hear all my US friends dreaming about it), groceries etc…

And then another 45 min from Napa to Calistoga. Another scenic drive through the vineyards. So pretty!

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After three nights in the vineyards with an unbearable (nearly) heat and lots of time spent in the local coffee shop we left for our last night. And how lucky we were to end out trip in Del Valle National Park. True camping style in the middle of the woods. And hubby even made a fire (from scratch!)…
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And then we went back to SF, dropped the van, went to the airport and flew to Vancouver. The next chapter (which you can already follow here)!


Summary: During the trip we just could not make our mind up – do we like camping/ holidaying in a camper van or not? Can we imagine to do this again?

After 12 days we were ready. Ready to walk on a floor that is clean (try to keep a tiny space clean with 6 people running in and out from the woods, pool and and and), sleep in a proper bed (the bed in the van was too short for me) and just have a bit more space in general… (and it is funny how you appreciate little things after 12 days in a campervan).

The kids loved it. No question about it! They could not really say why… just because it is different… it is great to be surrounded by nature all the time and yes we can imagine to do this again …. huuuuuh…


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